Jimmy Ireland is an Exeter based singer who blends smooth vocals and acoustic guitar to create unique pop/rock, folk originals and classic covers, he has a new EP that is launching at the start of June (more details below), we thought we'd get in touch early and organise a chat. We got together, grabbed a hot chocolate and had a good old chat about how Australia compares to Exeter, his addictions and playing noisy pubs, here's how we got on....
Hi Jimmy, we know that you’re a well travelled lad, born in Exeter and spent time living in Australia, can you tell us something about yourself that even Google doesn’t know?
Where to start? Aside from having a keen interest in music I also love films visiting the cinema quite often and reading the reviews in the magazines EMPIRE and TotalFilm
Who would you say got you into music and made you want to setup your own band?
I've always been into music but a friend of mine in Australia got me into the performance side of it when he asked me to sing in a school band. We played heavy rock music based on AC/DC and original compositions that he had written. After learning to play the guitar I realised that it wasn't what I felt I was best at so I moved to the solo acoustic, singer/songwriter genre.
If I asked your friends to describe you using just 3 words, what do you think they would say?
Probably something along the lines of 'hardworking, honest, funny'.
What does music mean to you?
Music means everything to me. Without it I'd be lost. It's an addiction.
What was the last book you read?
I take it this excludes magazines? The last book would have been 'the Tomorrow Series: The Dead of the Night by John Marsden.
Do you come from a musical background?
My mum is a piano teacher. My youngest sister is learning the guitar and has an amazing singing voice.
How is Mandurah, Western Australia different from Exeter, which do you prefer?
Mandurah is different because of the climate ( It gets hot), the people and the lifestyle. Everyone is so much more laid back and happier and you get a great sense of being part of a 'family'. Mandurah is well known for crab fishing and although it is a city it is quite a bit smaller than Exeter so you get to know the people in the community better than what you would in Exeter.
I love Exeter but Mandurah was a great place to live.
What was the very first song you ever learnt to play?
The very first song I learnt was Blue Suede Shoes By Elvis Presley.
You’ve got to decide who the headliners are for next year’s Glastonbury Festival, who’s going to be gracing the Pyramid Stage on Fri, Sat & Sun?
I'm going to pick some local talent for this one because I believe the standard of these artists deserves to grace an event like Glastonbury. My first pick, Wildwood Kin, a fantastic three piece folk band consisting of two sisters, Emillie, Beth and their cousin, Meghann. My second pick, Tobias Ben Jacob, an absolutely incredible singer/songwriter that just blows me away everytime I see him play. My third, Six Days, a foot stomping folk/Americana duo made up of brother and sister Ollie and Ellie Harris.
If you were a boxer, what music would you use to enter the ring to? (I’m thinking ‘Eye of the Tiger’ by Survivor…)
Back In Black - AC/DC
What is your idea of hell?
Being told that I couldn't play music anymore because of something that is restricting me and stopping me from doing it.
Do you play outdoor festivals? If so, do you prefer the larger, more corporate affairs or smaller, boutique festivals?
A lot of people say bigger is better but because of my music style I prefer to play the smaller festivals that the audience can kick back and listen to. Don't get me wrong the bigger festivals are great.
If you could duet with ANYONE (dead, alive or fictional) who would it be and why?
Rumer. Incredible voice and one of my favourite artists.
Where do you play on a regular basis, do you have a favorite venue?
I do a lot of pubs. Noisy atmosphere, no one's really paying any attention, you feel completely ignored so it ends up becoming practice for something better. So the better gigs are the ones which the venue is packed but you could hear a pin drop. That being said my favourite venue would have to be a place called The Link which is based in the St Leonards area of Exeter and is situated in a church hall. Every gig is so nice in there.
In your early days of playing, did you find that you needed to include more cover versions to attract interest?
Yes, purely because I wasn't letting anything that I had written leave the bedroom. I felt comfortable playing songs I'd listened to years before I started performing.
Have you started to reduce the amount of cover versions that you play live now?
Yes, because I'm writing more and I want to get it out there.
What, in your opinion is THE perfect album/record?
Man Up By The Blue Van. Just cheers me up everytime I listen to it.
Let’s imagine you’re creating your own ‘Supergroup’ but you can only use people called Phil and Dave, who’s in the band?
If you could design anything in Meccano, what would it be?
I'd attempt making the Iron Man suit.
There are tons of social media channels out there at your disposal, which would you say are the best ones for you to get your music out there to people?
Facebook is great for everything. I also use Twitter a lot when I'm out and about at gigs. YouTube is also good for uploading videos and giving people something to watch/listen to.
How do you approach songwriting?, is there a ‘magic formula’?
It's different everytime. Sometimes I've came up with the guitar one night before going to bed which prompts me to quickly record it so I can put lyrics to it later on. Other times I've started humming a tune and came up with lyrics in my head, jotted them down and then put the guitar to it. It gets easier the more ways to find out how to do it.
If you were on a desert island and could only bring 3 records/albums, what would they be and why?
Into Colour (Album) - Rumer
Mothership (Album)- Led Zeppelin
Man Up (Album) - The Blue Van
I'd choose these because I've never got bored of them.
Do you think that streaming services like Spotify are THE future of music?
It looks that way. Everything is going digital and hard copies are fading away. What a shame.
Do you think that CD & Vinyl will ever be phased out?
I expect so eventually but I prefer CDs to digital copies.
If you could have a super power, what would it be and why?
Telekinesis. Have you not seen Star Wars?
What was the first gig that you ever went to and what was the most recent (as a paying customer?)
I am looking for other local musicians to take part in our ‘Introducing’ feature, can you give me at least 3 names for me to go and investigate?
Tobias Ben Jacob
Despite his exceptional taste in music (Rumer, Led Zep), we thought that we could let him off running the 'Quickfire Question' gauntlet, this soon passed, we got him suited up in his armour and with only a brillo pad and a bottle of Domestos, we set him loose into the 'QQ' arena....
Hot Chocolate or Cappucino?
Bagel or Crumpet?
Ice Cream or Candy Floss?
Loop Pedal or Chorus Pedal?
Cycling or Walking?
Exeter Central or Exeter St Davids train stations?
Night out or night in?
Early riser or Can’t get out of bed?
Can't get out of bed
BBQ or Picnic?
Beer or Cider?
Neighbours or Home & Away?
Exeter Phoenix Arts Centre or Exeter Cavern?
Festival or normal gig?
Beards or No Beards (on men!)
Camping or Campervan?
The Beatles or The Stones?
Beach or Pool?
Nando’s or Wagamama’s?
Sunbathing or Snowboarding?
Paperback or Kindle?
God or Google?
We'd like to thank Jimmy for taking the time to run through our questions and provide some quality responses, we wish him all the best for the future, especially with his 'Bad Luck Boy' EP launch party at The Oddfellows in Exeter from 8pm. Who knows, we may even pop along for the evening and check out his set. Please spare a few minutes to check up on his social media sites, they're all listed below, all you need to do is point and click....
I have also listed a few of his forthcoming live shows, for more information and to keep on top of other events, please check his website.
23rd May: The Respect Festival Warm Up, Princesshay Exeter, 10am
4th June: 'Bad Luck Boy' EP LAUNCH, The Oddfellows, Exeter 8pm (support TBA)
14th June: The White Lion, Bradninch
26th June: On The Waterfront, Exeter 7pm
Interview by Steve Muscutt